I have a dream. A dream of devices that somehow know what I want of them. A dream of devices that do not bother me with repetitive questions or reminders of the same event. A dream of devices that are Context Aware.
First there was the Calendar. Then there was Online Calendar. Then these calendars were synced. Then both of these calendar were synced to a mobile device. And then suddenly there were notifications all over the place. Laptop buzzing me about an event. The phone beeps to bring my attention to the reminder I have set. And then, god forbid, I have synced it to Google Calendar, which sends me SMS alerts. I should set a reminder to myself, that when I get online, I should disable Google alerts… Oh! I am in a rat race.
Soon I start skipping setting reminders just because I don’t like the devices exploding at the same moment.
A dream of a better world
In a better world, when I was sitting at my desk, only the laptop would notify my about the event. The phone would stay silent, because it is aware of my location. It is probably docked right on the desk, and if not, it is in vicinity of bluetooth and laptop has signaled it that I am currently active at the computer.
In an even better world my watch would be connected to the scheme too. When driving in a car, the least thing I would like to do is to dig for my phone from the pocket of my pants, just to find out the rumble was only because it reminded me about the meeting I was actually driving to at the moment. Wouldn’t it be great if I could just glimpse my watch and dismiss the alert from there?
Living in the future
Currently my Mac takes me half way through. Every Mac has a feature called Locations, but when combined with MarcoPolo, I get a computer which recognizes when I arrive home and automatically turn on wifi and disable TimeMachine, to save bandwidth. Combine this with something like Pastebot, and you see what I am talking about – a cloud of devices that are interconnected and aware of each other all the time. When I change something on one device, it changes on all the others. When I see something on one device, it is marked as seen on all others (yes, this includes calendar alerts). When I leave my laptop home for a vacation, it will not greet me with a list of events already in the past and dismissed via the phone.
I just can’t wait this kind of world to come. And considering MobileMe & iPhone push sync, I would bet that Apple will do it first (even if Google does it better afterwards).